Random Thoughts

1. Teaching a fitness class without being allowed to participate is difficult.  It’s super tough to judge how hard people might be working, and I kinda think they wuss out a bit more than if I was going hard right beside them.

2. Teaching a fitness class without music is also pretty weird.  Yup – totally forgot my iPod at home this morning and had no music at all.

3. “Not participating” in silence is super boring, even while counting reps and motivating participants the whole time.

4. Maybe my participants didn’t work as hard because of the lack of music, rather than the lack of an instructor sweating along with them…hmmm.

5. My town is getting a dog park, and that is super exciting!

6. I have joined the dog park committee, which probably makes me a little stupid.  Because I don’t have enough to keep my waking hours occupied already.

7. I looked at my calendar today and realized that I do not have a single day between now and the end of the school year without something going on.

8.  July 1st is the next day where I have nothing planned.

9. July 1st cannot come soon enough.

Liver Woes

Liver biopsy #2 was yesterday.  It was sucky, but not nearly as sucky as liver biopsy #1.  The first time around, my blood pressure plummeted to 77/27 (which my Grandmother pointed out is in the death range – thankfully THAT didn’t happen!). They had to hook up my IV and drug me up real good to prevent further complications.  It was actually a little scary for both Rob and I, especially since the nurse who put in my IV when I first arrived told me that “they won’t even need to use it – it’s only for emergencies or if something goes wrong”….so when the biopsy nurse said, “I’m just going to hook up your IV now,” I was all “WTF?!?  I thought it was only for emergencies….what is wrong???”

My super artistic rendition of what my doctor explained about my liver biopsy.  Sometimes I think I should start selling art for money.Anyway, I was kinda nervous for biopsy #2 considering that the first one didn’t go very smoothly, and this one needed to use a bigger needle (turns out #1 didn’t actually provide the necessary info, so I had to be subjected to this little ordeal all over again – whoo hoo!).  The bigger needle part sucked more – and I’m WAY more sore today than I was last time because of it – but my doctor was more prepared for me this time around.  When I arrived in the biopsy wing yesterday, the doctor was all “I remember you” and smiling (I probably made his day a little more exciting, or something, the last time – ha!).  He hooked up my IV and gave me some meds right from the beginning, so I was more chilled out.  They were different drugs than last time (I was a total drugged up mess the first time around, and was still groggy two days later), but they dulled the pain and took the edge off for me, so that’s cool.  I was also MUCH less hungry afterwards than the first time – they didn’t let me eat or drink anything after midnight the night before, and then wouldn’t even give me water until 3 hours after the biopsy.  I am pretty much always eating, so that was torture, but apparently an IV is kinda like eating, so yesterday wasn’t nearly as bad!

Because the needle was bigger this time, I have more discomfort today, and I will also need to lay off any type of lifting or exertion for a whole week.  I wasn’t expecting that, since it was only two days off last time, so that news kind of throws a bit of a wrench into the fitness classes I need to teach this week.  Hmmm….what to do about that?  Not running the classes isn’t really an option, so if any of my fellow instructors out there have tips for running a class without demonstrating moves or doing any work myself, I’d be much obliged.  I was thinking about setting up a circuit and just sort of doing the drill instructor thing, but I can’t even lift the equipment I would need to set up.  Bummer.

I sort of had this “Oh, I’ll be fine – they just say that I have to lay off for a week, but I’ll really be able to do a lot of stuff” mentality floating around in my head until a couple of hours ago.  I took my dogs for a walk with my Mom (who is super sweet, and took me to the city for the biopsy and then stayed with me overnight because Rob is working away for 3 whole weeks).  My dogs are usually pretty good, and walk really well on a leash, but today there was a rabbit.  Holy mother of Gawd!  Jax saw it and lunged for the bushes and I sorta thought I was going to die.  Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but it REALLY hurt.  You see, it’s automatic to contract your core muscles when your large dog lunges at a rabbit, and that doesn’t feel so awesome when someone stuck a big needle through those muscles and took a hunk of meat out of your liver the day before.  Good thing my mom had Naava, because if I would’ve been walking both dogs, I probably would still be lying in those bushes crying my face off with my dogs trying to eat and kill the Easter bunny.

Glimmers in the Grey

Today sucked – I mean really, REALLY sucked.  My husband goes back to work out-of-town tomorrow, and he had a course there today, so he left last night; I didn’t sleep well, so I was quite exhausted all day.  I also had a doctor’s appointment in the city this morning, and received some pretty gloomy news, which was even more depressing given that I received it all alone.  I don’t want to worry anyone – I am fine, or at least I will be fine – and compared to what many people have to deal with, my medical issues are really insignificant.  It still sucked to get bad news which put a damper on everything we were hoping and planning for, though…and then my negativity started to seep in to other, much more mundane facets of my life.  My salad, for example, irritated me intensely this evening.  Yup, my salad.  You see, Rob made a big bowl of fresh, green salad this weekend, which I was planning to eat tonight, tomorrow, and possibly even Wednesday if there was any left.  When I went to dish some up with my salmon tonight, though, it was soggy, slimy, and turning brown.  I think it’s because there were chopped up bits of tomato in the salad bowl, and their acidity did a number on everything else.  Blech.  Tossed the whole slimy bowl in the garbage – such a waste!  Not something that would normally irritate me so much, though.

Oh well – I still had delicious salmon with carrots and Brussel sprouts, which was enough to fill me up.  Then I had a great telephone conversation with Rob, who is quite sad that he couldn’t come to my appointment with me today.  It’s really not a big deal that he didn’t get to come with me, and I fully support him going for the course he had to take for work.  I really do appreciate his sensitivity about the whole thing, though, and I love him so much more for sincerely regretting that he wasn’t there.  I am blessed with a wonderful husband who loves me and helps me to appreciate the positive.

I also went for a much-needed run to clear my head.  The air was pretty crisp tonight, but I dressed warmly, and the cold helped to keep me focused.  The dogs ran really well, too, and I’m looking forward to snuggling up with them very soon.  They love me even when I’m sad and grumpy, and that reminds me that everything will turn out to be lovely in the end…even if there are a whole bunch of road blocks along the way.

My Favourite Running Buddies

I have two running buddies – yup two, and they are the best running buddies that a girl could ask for.  Meet Jax (the blond one) and Naava (pronounced “Nay-va” – the black one):

Photo by Kathy Lovell - click to link to her Facebook page

We have absolutely no idea what kind of dog Jax is.  My brother Ryan brought him home as a two month old puppy about six years ago, after a May long weekend camping with his buddies in Saskatchewan.  Two puppies were wandering around the campsites scavenging for food after their mother had been hit by a car, so Ryan and his friends fed them for the weekend.  A family from another camp site took the other puppy, and when Jax just sat there staring at him as Ryan packed up his campsite, Ry decided that he couldn’t just leave him there.  He brought him home, and all of a sudden I had a dog.  A good dog, who never wanted to leave my side.

Naava came into my life only a few months after my husband, Rob did.  I had been looking for another dog as a playmate for the then 1 1/2 year old Jax.  I contacted Terra at PARS in High Prairie (where I was living at the time), and took Jax to meet her.  I told her about our lifestyle, and about what kind of dog I was looking for, and then toured her facility meeting a bunch of dogs.  None of them seemed right for us, but Terra promised to keep her eyes open.  About a month later, she called me up saying “I think I’ve found your dog.”  I went out to meet “Peanut,” who was your typical prairie dog: a Border Collie crossed with who knows what, about two years old.  They knew she had already had at least one litter of puppies, and she had been picked up by the Grande Prairie Peace River SPCA (Thanks Terra for the correction!) as an emaciated dog who had been surviving by eating a rotting carcass in a ditch.  She was really skinny when I met her for the first time (even though she’d already been getting food and medical care from the SPCA for about a month) and had an injured front paw, but she loved me with her whole being, even though I was a complete stranger.  I couldn’t help but love her back, so I brought her home to meet Jax, and gave her a brand new name – it means “beautiful,” and she is.

It didn’t go well at first.  She was injured and scared and wanted nothing to do with Jax, who was so excited to have another dog around that he just wanted to play.  It took a few days for her to come around, but they eventually became the best of friends, and now they are inseparable.  I can’t even take one of them to the vet without the other one freaking out; I just load them both into the vehicle if either one of them needs to go anywhere.

Jax and Naava are good dogs, well, at least they are good dogs most of the time.  They perform simple commands when we tell them to, lie down while we are preparing and eating food, come when they are called, and ring a little bell when they have to go out to do their business.  They do jump over our fence occasionally to play with other neighbourhood dogs (or eat the food left out by the owners of the poor little dog who is always chained up outside and wearing a bark collar – I feel so sad for him!), but when I call and go after them, they come back almost immediately.  I guess they did chase a little terrier around the neighbourhood for a couple of minutes about a month ago, but in their defence, that little terrier is always running around the neighbourhood, nips at Jax’ heels when we run by, and had been in our yard taunting Jax and Naava in their dog run only a few minutes before hand.  That was my bad.  I should have waited until I knew the pesky dog was gone before letting them out of their run.  Instead, I came home, shooed the dog away (or at least I thought I did), and then let my dogs out.  The terrier was apparently still in my front yard, and Jax was over the fence before I even had time to say his name.  Naava, who loves her brother very much, followed immediately.  Whoops.

I didn’t lie and tell you that they are always good because I am trying to make a point:  they are always on their best behaviour when we run regularly.  During those two months where I was at the peak of my back/leg pain and wasn’t able to run at all, Jax and Naava wanted to explore our neighbourhood A LOT more often.  They were still getting walks, but I was walking very slowly, and I know they weren’t burning the energy that they needed to.  When we run regularly, they are angels; it doesn’t matter if the poor chained up dog with the bark collar has a full bowl of food only two houses away – they don’t jump the fence to go there; they are content to play in the yard and lounge around the living room.  They already burned off the excess energy on our run, and don’t need to explore the neighbourhood.

Jax and Naava are always excited to go for a run; they don’t care if it’s cold, or raining, or really early in the morning.  Motivation is not a problem for these two, in fact, they are pretty much the greatest motivation for me.  Forget wedding dresses, bikinis and high school reunions – aside from running to feel good for me, I run because my dogs need the exercise.  If you are a dog person, have the time/energy/lifestyle to adopt a rescue (or even a purebred if you really feel the need – though I advocate for rescues always!), and are – or want to be – a runner, then get down to your local shelter and adopt a running buddy or two.  I promise you that your new running buddy will be all the motivation you will need to get your butt out of bed or off the couch each day.  Your new running buddy will enhance your life in a myriad of other ways as well, and if you decide to go the rescue route, you will be saving a dog’s life too!  How can that NOT give you the motivation to run?

I run like the wind!

Okay, more like “I run like the wind is blowing against me at high speeds,” but the point is that I run!  Today was my first day back running after a VERY long hiatus, and I’m not entirely sure yet if it was awesome or awful; I will make that call tomorrow.

If you know me outside of my brand new blog, you will know that I have been suffering from a pinched sciatic nerve and some pretty intense leg and hip pain since mid October, and some gross back pain since mid July.  It sucked.  I took a break from weight training at the end of July, and was forced to stop running in October.  The numbness in my leg and the fact that my right side would literally give out while I was moving made running tough, to say the least, so I had to give it up for a while.  Bummer – especially when you factor in the extra 15lbs that just magically appeared on my ass.  Anyway, I focused on getting chiropractic treatments (from a massage-manipulation chiropractor with magic hands), going for regular massages, and practicing yoga whenever possible, and low-and-behold, I am now on the mend!  I am not yet feeling 100%, and I still have a LOT of tightness in my right calf, but comparatively speaking, I am feeling pretty good!

Let’s talk about my run tonight, though.  I’ve been walking at a decently brisk pace for a little over a month, so my magic-hands chiropractor and I decided that I was ready to try running again.  I was pretty nervous given the fact that the last time I ran, my leg buckled underneath me and I wiped out in a crumpled heap on top of one of my dogs with the other one licking my face.  I love my “kids,” but I don’t do face licking, and Jax knows it, so I guess he must’ve been pretty concerned about me.  Naava is a trooper and she still loves me even though I squashed her.  Anyway…I was nervous, but I tied up my shoes, put on my running leash, grabbed the dogs, and headed out the door.  It was…fine.  I was slow – I haven’t done any cardio for quite a while now (I guess I did swim laps 4 or 5 times, but the pool in my town is closed for upkeep, so I haven’t even done that for about a month!).  My breathing was a lot more laboured than I would like, my legs felt a bit like I was running through jell-o, and my right leg got REALLY heavy after about five minutes, but I ran for a full eleven minutes before I had to walk.  Three months ago, eleven minutes would’ve been just getting me warmed up, but I don’t care.  I’m proud of those eleven minutes, and I plan to turn them into twelve – or maybe even thirteen – for next time!

I followed up my run/walk with a nice yoga stretch in my living room, and then had a lovely tea and visit with my husband, who has since gone to bed while I click away at the keyboard.  All in all it was a pretty wonderful evening, and I’m really glad that I can call myself a runner again, even if I’m not exactly running like the wind.